Your teeth are tough, but they’re not invincible. There are a lot of daily habits that can wear your teeth down. You might not even realize that some of these habits are damaging your teeth. Let’s take a look at a few habits that you didn’t know are hurting your teeth, and what you can do to stop them.
4 Habits You Didn’t Know Are Hurting Your Teeth
1. Daytime Teeth Clenching
You may have heard of a condition called night grinding, where people grind their teeth together while they sleep. But this condition can also occur during the day. The official name is bruxism, and it can damage your teeth. When you’re clenching your teeth throughout the day, it puts excessive pressure on your teeth, and it can cause pain in your teeth and jaw, headaches, and even cause your gums to pull away from your teeth.
Daytime teeth clenching often occurs during times of stress or intense focus. This might include reading a stressful email, or having a difficult conversation. Or, you might be stressed during your morning commute or when giving a presentation.
If you find yourself clenching your teeth throughout the day, don’t panic. Simply being aware of the problem can help. When you catch yourself clenching your teeth, take several deep breaths. Some mindfulness exercises may also help you relieve stress during the day. If you find yourself clenching your teeth for longer periods throughout the day, like while you’re driving, you might also try wearing a mouthguard during the day.
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2. Open-Mouth Sleeping
If you’re breathing through your mouth instead of your nose while you’re sleeping, you may have noticed some negative effects already. Open-mouth sleeping can make it harder to sleep, and you might wake up more often during the night. You might also snore loudly and wake up with a dry, scratching throat, or bad breath. Open-mouth sleeping can also damage your teeth.
Your nose is designed to filter air and help you breathe while you sleep. But, if you can’t breathe through your nose during the night, you have to breathe through your mouth. As air moves through your mouth and throat, the air dries up your saliva. Your saliva helps protect your gums and teeth from germs, and germs can accumulate in your mouth without saliva. This is what causes bad breath and it can also contribute to tooth decay.
It’s no mystery that smoking and chewing tobacco is bad for your health overall, but also bad for your teeth. Many people assume that vaping is better than traditional tobacco, but vaping still has many negative health effects. Among them is damage to your teeth.
Vaping hurts your teeth and gums in similar ways as smoking and chewing tobacco. E-cigarettes contain many of the same cancer-causing substances that regular cigarettes do, like formaldehyde, toluene, and nitrosamines. This can cause mouth cancer, especially if you repeatedly vape over a long period of time. The warm air passing through your mouth also contributes to dry mouth. As previously mentioned, dry mouth can cause bad breath and tooth decay. Finally, many e-cigarettes also contain nicotine, which will stain your teeth and can cause gum disease.
4. Sipping Soda
The negative health effects of soda are fairly well-known, but many people underestimate how bad soda is for your teeth. If you’re drinking soda throughout the day, you’re bathing your teeth in sugars and acid all day long. The acids in soda weaken your tooth enamel, while the high sugar content encourages the growth of bacteria, which cause plaque and cavities.
There’s a few ways to stop this habit from hurting your teeth. The most obvious way is to consume less soda, though this might not be an appealing alternative for many. Another way to reduce the damage is to drink water while drinking soda. The water will help to rinse some of the sugars and acids off your teeth while you’re drinking soda. Or, you might consume soda only while you’re eating, and not sip throughout the day. Brushing your teeth at lunchtime can also help to remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth.
If you know that you have some of these bad habits and you’re worried about the damage they could be doing to your teeth, talk to your dentist. Your dentist can remove the plaque from your teeth, fill any cavities, and provide other treatments that can help protect your teeth. If you live in the Las Vegas, Laughlin, or Henderson area of Nevada, you can make an appointment with a BDG dentist today.